A visit to the Otway Ranges is awe-inspiring, thinking back to the days before man’s involvement in the forest, it is easy to picture dinosaurs roaming between the enormous trees and thriving in the area. The trees shoot straight up into the clouds and the forest floor is dense with ferns and fallen trees. The area is special and unique in many ways thanks to its vast history. The team at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures pay homage to those who inhabited the forest before them, while also planning for future generations to come.
Beech Forest, home to the Otway Fly, was a timber logging hotspot for many years, and a prime example of majority of the local towns that were developed by the loggers and their families. Timber logging was and still is one of the largest industries in the area and had a huge effect on the development of the Great Ocean Road. The industry has changed considerably over the years and has helped pave the way for tourism in the region by creating infrastructure and developing the area. The Otway Fly and Beech Forest is now one of the Great Ocean Roads must visit locations along with the stunning beaches and jagged coastline.
Otway Fly was predominantly built on old logging roads in an effort to miminize the environmental impact construction would have on the forest. The Treetop Walk is the highest and longest of its kind in the world. This impressive structure took five and a half months to construct offsite, with the whole project taking 10 months in total. The walk used 125 tonnes of steel, can hold 28 tonnes and can withstand 280 km/h winds. After construction was completed the track was re-vegetated with Soft Tree Ferns and Myrtle Beech, while natural regeneration has also occurred over the years.
Beech Forest is home to some rare and many native creatures including the spectacular carnivorous Otway Black Snail found locally but nowhere else on earth. The Black Snail hunts at night, feeding on soft bodied animals such as worms, slugs or vegetarian snails. Not only is it home to this one of a kind snail but the forest provides shelter for 42 native animals including possums, wallabies and bats. It is also a haven for birds, with 130 plus species living in the Otway region.
The Otway Fly seeks to minimize its ecological footprint and support the principles of sustainable development wherever possible. This means using resources at a rate that allows them to replenish themselves. Examples of this include; the Visitor Center collects, treats and recycles water; the use of paper bags at the retail store; recyclable packaging and collateral; the use of environmentally-friendly chemicals; and the recycling of bottles and cans. Another way the Otway Fly contributes to sustainability and conservation is to educate and inform thousands of students and visitor each year about the magnificent natural environment and the issues that potentially threaten it. Rainforests only cover 0.14 percent of Victoria, and in an effort to protect and conserve this precious ecosystem, The Otway Fly is continuously involved in revegetation programs such as tree planting initiatives and education programs.
This is approach is continued through the Zipline Tour at the Otway Fly. This thrilling, adrenalin-pumping experience allows guest to fly through the tree-tops and experience the forest from above. The tour also includes some great insight into the history of the area, the importance of the upper levels of the canopy in the rainforest, and the sustainability projects that visitors can undertake themselves at home to help conserve our natural wonders.
For further information, latest news and initiatives, please visit http://www.otwayfly.com.au